Revelation 4:1–4 (NKJV)
After writing to the seven churches of Revelation, John begins to describe the scene again as He sees a different sight and hears the voice directing Him into the throne room.
1 After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, “Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.”Revelation 4:1
In this verse, John attention is drawn from the seven golden candlesticks to a door, standing open in heaven. As He sees this door, a loud voice, sounding like a trumpet, calls to John instructing Him to enter the door. This door seems to be above Him, a higher plane if you will, and he is called up higher to see the future events that will occur.
2 Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne. 3 And He who sat there was like a jasper and a sardius stone in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, in appearance like an emerald. 4 Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and on the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white robes; and they had crowns of gold on their heads.Revelation 4:2-4
After seeing the open door, John was immediately in the Spirit. He saw the throne of God in heaven, and saw God Himself, “One sat on the throne.” This image was awe-inspiring, as he saw God, shining like jasper and sardius stone in appearance. The throne was surrounded by a rainbow, and had an emerald hue. Jasper and Sardius stones are reddish hued, and are very shiny when polished. Emerald is green, obviously, and seemed to set the background for the rainbow, which contains all the colors of the visible spectrum. Some scholars feel that the jasper referred to here is possibly a diamond, a symbol of purity. The red of the sardius stone symbolizes the impending wrath of God, and the emerald hue represents mercy. These are common Jewish color symbols.
This imagery, then, shows the all-encompassing nature of God, His ability to know and utilize everything created for His glory. God is the One who will control the events of the end of time. He is the awesome figure that looms over the earth and its history to direct and determine all that is to come. Additionally, John saw twenty-four thrones, with elders sitting on each of them, wearing crowns of gold. This represents the people who are chosen to represent all of humanity in a constant worship of God around His throne. Their white robes symbolize their holiness in the presence of God, changed into spiritual people without sin. Their crowns do not symbolize royalty or political authority, but rather victory and joy brought about by being in the presence of God in heaven. This vision is awesome and moving, depicted as a powerful expression of God and His throne, His heaven and His people worshipping Him. This helps us see what John saw as he begins to receive a cryptic, eschatological vision of what will come after.